Every generation of main-series Pokémon games brings something new to the table — a slew of regional Pokémon to add to your team, fresh faces in the gyms and Elite Four, and sometimes innovative elements and style changes like Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s Wild Areas and Dynamaxing. But from what we’ve seen so far, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set to deviate from the standard Pokémon game mold and give players an entirely unique Pokémon training experience.
Set for an early 2022 release, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is being pitched as a “new approach for the Pokémon video game series.” Players will be returning to the Sinnoh region from the Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl games, but long before the events of those titles. Borrowing elements from Nintendo’s ultra-popular Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the game appears to be an open-world adventure with more opportunities for exploration than past Pokémon titles.
While official details for the game are limited to an announcement trailer and a few additional notes from Nintendo, there’s a lot to unpack and plenty of interesting fan speculation on what this new Pokémon adventure will look like. Here’s everything we know about Pokémon Legends: Arceus so far.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be released on January 28.
This will be just a couple of months after Nintendo released Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl on November 19, making for a very exciting combination of releases for Pokémon trainers.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be released exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
The first trailer kicks off with a narrator explaining that the events of Pokémon Legends: Arceus take place “a long, long time ago when the Sinnoh region was still only a vast wilderness.” Cut to a Breath of the Wild-style scenic view and wild Pokémon roaming the landscape uninhibited, much like they do in New Pokémon Snap.
It appears that catching wild Pokémon is going to look very different — players will be able to hunt packs of Pokémon down from a third-person perspective and throw Pokéballs at potential catches in real time as opposed to the turn-based battling sequences in other installments. It looks like battles with wild Pokémon will take place without jetting to a separate battle screen as well.
Instead of a new trio of starter Pokémon like the average game kickoff, it appears the starters in Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be a mix of starters from previous generations — Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott will be this game’s starters.
At the end of the trailer, the book the narrator is reading from is closed. Our view is filled with smoke for a moment before revealing the mythical Pokémon Arceus. End scene.
The trailer shown off at Nintendo’s August event started with a similarly cryptic message, this time stating, “This is a tale of a time long ago when the lives of humans and Pokémon were still separate.” Finally, we know the name of the region we will explore, which is called the Hisui region and will eventually become the Sinnoh region in the future. We are then shown a variety of locations and Pokémon, including fields, snowy vistas, and moonlit forests before seeing our first real look at civilization. This town, Jubilee Village, which is very much inspired by historical Japanese architecture, appears to be full of characters we will be able to interact with from the Galaxy Expedition team, composed of a Medical corp, Security corp, and Survey corp led by Cullen.
Our resident professor this time around is Professor Laventon, who studies Pokémon ecology and will provide you with your very first Pokémon. The Galaxy Expedition team is led by Kamado, who will recruit you as a member.
The latest trailer, and possibly the last, shows off a lot more of the gameplay we’ll experience in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. However, it also introduces us to several Wardens that will apparently protect special Pokémon. Mai is the first, who is partnered with a Munchlax that she describes as being almost like a sibling. Iscan appears to be a more casual and perhaps lazy Warden, and Lian is having trouble getting close to a rampaging Kleavor. Arezu seems to be fond of fashion but is also eager to learn more from your trainer.
Jubilife Village is going to be what your main hometown is called and is where you’ll be able to change your character’s appearance, shop, and craft, plus take pictures.
Pokémon nobles were also introduced in this trailer. These are “frenzied” Pokémon with unique names that look to serve as boss encounters of sorts. The one shown off was Lord of the Woods Kleavor, as an example. This is a brand new evolution of Scyther.
With previous Pokémon installments, we’ve been able to successfully assume what the plot will look like. You start off in a small town and build your Pokémon squad as you take on the gym leader challenge and eventually the Elite Four while fighting some sort of criminal organization, your rival, and plenty of trainers in between. There are even new Noble Pokémon to capture.
We know that the game will revolve around creating the region’s first Pokédex, a task likely given to you by a yet-to-be-named Pokémon professor. Will there be any sort of gym challenge? We’re not sure.
From previously established Pokémon lore, we know that Arceus is thought to have created the Sinnoh region and possibly the entire Pokémon world; the lake guardians Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit; and the creation trio Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. It is thought to be one of the oldest Pokémon around. Where we fit into Arceus’ timeline in this game is completely unclear, but we’re very excited to find out.
We initially got the impression that this would be a fully open-world game. However, it has been clarified that it will be more hub-based. The team even directly compared it to how the Monster Hunter games worked, where you will go to a specific hub to complete different excursions you accept. Once done, you will need to go back to turn in the task and take on another.
The basics of Pokémon games have also been upended in this game. We see our trainer sneaking up on Pokémon through tall grass and capturing them with Poké Balls from a distance without doing battle. Some may flee when they spot you, others attack, and some simply can’t be caught without a fight. However, battles still certainly exist, as throwing a Poké Ball near an enemy Pokémon will trigger a traditional turn-based fight on the field where you will have the chance to capture your target.
The new gameplay trailer also shows that you can lure or distract Pokémon by tossing berries that different breeds like. If successful, it will make these sneaky captures more likely.
While the turn-based style remains, a few new battle features have been added, such as a turn order on the right side of the screen. Instead of taking turns, some Pokémon are faster and can get multiple turns before others, so pay close attention to the action order. You can influence the order by choosing to use any move in either strong style, which is stronger but slower, or agile style, which is weaker but faster.
Aside from running and rolling across the land, you will also be able to fly with the help of your Pokémon. Using a hang glider apparatus, your trainer can be carried through the air or ride through oceans and rivers and even along the ground itself with the help of different ridable Pokémon. Considering the scale of the world we’ve been shown, this will likely be a major feature for getting around.
Base camps will be where you can stock up on supplies, such as Poké Balls, while out in the field, or even craft your own with materials you gather in the world. Resting at a base camp will also heal your party of Pokémon who have taken damage in battle.
Jubilife Village is your hub where you can do a lot of preparatory tasks. Aside from a huge range of customization options for your character, including hair styles and dozens of outfits ranging from sophisticated suits to traditional Japanese outfits, you can also use different materials and ingredients to craft items like potions. This is also where you will take on missions provided by the Survey Corps. You can accept these missions in Jubilife Village, which will show up on your new Arc Phone, and complete them in one of the region’s hub areas. Once complete, you will earn various rewards, including money. This seems to be the only way to earn money since there are no more trainer battles.
For the first time, different Pokémon may or may not appear based on the time of day and weather conditions, meaning you may need to plan your missions based on these factors.
There will also be a photography studio of sorts where you can strike different poses with any of your Pokémon, hopefully with the ability to save and share them with friends. You will also need to observe Pokémon doing different moves or actions in the wild, almost like in Pokémon Snap, to fully complete your Pokédex.
Alpha and noble Pokémon will also be new and unique encounters in the wild. These are two different types of very dangerous Pokémon. Alphas are described as being far bigger than typical Pokémon, with red eyes, and are extremely aggressive. Noble Pokémon, on the other hand, are said to be granted some sort of “mysterious blessing” that grant them unique skills. They aren’t necessarily dangerous, though, as some may aid you, but others, like the one seen in the trailer, could be in a frenzy and attack on sight. Frenzied noble Pokémon appear to be one of the types of excursions you will be tasked with taking down.
There are no clear glimpses of multiplayer action in the announcement trailer, but the new gameplay trailer did show off the Trading Post in Jubilife Village, where we will be able to trade Pokémon and trade-in Merit Points for various items.
Usually, there are two versions of a game in every generation and trading Pokémon with other players was essential to filling out your Pokédex.
While there wasn’t anything included in the trailer that looks like the Wild Area from Pokémon Sword and Shield where players could mix, mingle, trade, and battle with ease, we’re hoping that there are similar elements built into this new game.
There’s no word on DLC content yet since the game isn’t close to being released. Of course, Pokémon Sword and Shield saw two DLC expansions in The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These introduced players to new areas within the region, gave them access to new wild Pokémon, and unlocked cool multiplayer options.
You can pre-order Pokémon Legends: Arceus from several retailers. There hasn’t been any sort of bonus content announced for pre-ordering the game, but that could change as the release date draws near.